If I have a love affair with any one fine wine grape, it’s got to be Riesling. I’m not a fan of saying that a particular grape is superior to another when it comes to producing fine wine, but we all have our preferences and at the end of the day if you forced me to pick one variety for stocking up wine for a stranded-on-a-desert-island scenario, it’s going to be Riesling for me. There’s just something about the purity, diversity, and transmission of a sense of place (while still retaining a ‘signature’ that clearly defines it) that Riesling delivers like no other wine grape.
Raimond Prüm is the tireless, red-headed force behind all things SA Prüm, which is by any account an historic producer of (very, very good) Mosel Riesling. I had the pleasure of being Raimond the Red’s guest earlier this year when I toured Germany’s wine regions with a group of journalists, stopping last at SA Prüm in the Mosel. The thing I remember most about “Der Specht” (so named due to his red coif) was the way that he pronounced the word “unbelievable” when describing Mosel wines (as in, he constantly referred to the wines of the Mosel as “unbelievable”). Raimond drawls the first syllable, stretching it to a verbal breaking point, then smashes the remaining syllables together quickly and decisively.
“I’m telling you, the wines are uuuunnnnnnnnn… beliveable.”
He said this. A lot.
He’s also a pretty good cook when it comes to his outdoor grill, and generous when it comes to sharing that food and showcasing his wines. Oh, yeah, he’s also one hell of winemaker, and justifiably proud of his wines, which consistently over-deliver with seriously powerful QPR Kung-Fu – many of them are excellent, and several are under $20. It helps that “Der Specht” is presiding over some of the most favorable sites for growing Riesling in the Mosel, where small changes in sun exposure can have a huge impact on the ripeness potential of Riesling and various soil types help to impart differing flavors and minerality to the wines.
It also helps to have a personality eminently suited to a Twitter Taste Live event, and a family winemaking history rivaling the grandest in all of Germany…
Observe this excerpt from the SA Prüm website:
The Prüm family has a rich and ancient history in the mid-Mosel, the preferred growing area in the Mosel. Here they owned vineyards in the towns of Bernkastel, Graach, Wehlen and Zeltingen since 1156. Today, the estate comprises 40 acres of vineyards planted principally with Riesling. Over 15 acres of S.A. Prüm’s holdings are located within the famed Wehlener Sonnenuhr ("sundial of Wehlen") domain. Named for the historic sundial painted on an outcrop of slate by a Prüm ancestor back in 1842, the incredibly steep Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyard is a renowned source of what is arguably Germany’s finest Riesling. Here vines average 80 years and older and benefit from plentiful sunshine – a critical factor in the world’s northernmost wine producing country. The soil is comprised of layers of finely decomposed, mineral-rich blue slate. Underneath, deep-lying aquifers provide the vines with adequate water during dry periods.
I suppose it’s a testament to the wines (and to Raimond) that the TTL event went off so well last week. Several bloggers commented that this was one of the first TTL events were every single wine was a total winner, with the Urzinger Riesling garnering particular praise from the group. It was basically a TTL love-fest, which might strike you as boring, unless you dig Riesling in which case you can add another producer to your list of must-try wines.
Or unless you were tasting those wines – in which case I’m willing to bet that you were far, far from being bored. My high-level tasting notes:
A recap of the event twitter stream is included below. I suggest skipping it and using the time to go get these wines and drink them, to experience the powerful Kung-Fu for yourself.